Buying And Renting in Spain

Buying And Renting in Spain 3rd April Radio show replay

Below is the text from my Almeria Radio show Sunday 3rd April.

You can also listen to the podcast version here..

Good morning Almeria and welcome to THE WRIGHT WAY with me David Wright

And  a big Thank you as always to Nicki Noodles for a great show.

On my show today…

Whats best renting or buying in Spain and how to get it right the first time

 plus some great tips on how to protect your deposits when renting here and how you could get your landlord to give you discounts on your rent.

So lets get straight into it.

Whats best     renting or buying in Spain…..Well the real question is whats best for you and your needs.

We are all very different and have different ideas and budgets so both are great and both have their ups and downs    so Heres my top tips that may help you decide whats best for you. And could just save you thousands.

When I first moved to Spain 19 years ago now..   wow that time has really gone by fast.. any way I was really keen on buying my first place here in Spain as many British are when moving here and I had the money from my house sale in the UK to buy a new 2 bedroom apartment that I had my eye on when I first moved here.

I always remember some advice I was given many years ago at a property show I went to in London. I do go to many of these property shows back then as they were a great way of gaining information on Spain. Remember this was back when the internet was just starting up so no online help like there is today.

At this particular show There was this guy who was selling property in Spain who lived in Malaga and he was promoting properties in the Malaga area.

 He told me privately over coffee that it was a good idea to rent first in the place that you think you lik, as you will find out so much in the first few months and then if you are sure that’s right for you go ahead and buy there.

Although I had the money to buy my first place here I decided to go with his advice and rented an apartment just a few streets away from where I was thinking of buying.

The first few months were great,  I loved the area and had started working for a building company here and I  had to get up for work at 7.00 am .

Then after renting a few months one day we were woken up at 6am from the sound of kitchen dashes and shouting and lorries backing up. Those lorries have that bleeping sound when they back up that’s like a horrible alarm clock.

There was a hotel that had opened up for the season. It was closed when we first moved there, but now was in full swing for the start of the tourist season.

Every morning at 5.30 or 6 am the kitchen staff had the windows open and although the noise was not really that loud the problem was that being nicer weather we had the bedroom window open a little and this shouting and banging of plates plus delivery Lorries backing up started to get to us.

This went on all summer and if we had bought the apartment we thought we loved,    this would have been a big problem.

Plus at 2pm every day the school at the end of the street had all the parents  picking up the kids and they parked their cars in front of our place and it was difficult to get a parking space on enter our garage at that time every day.

Little things like this can really get to you after time.

All this we learned just from renting a few months,

When I was ready to buy the new place we had found,  one of the things I did was go there at different times of day and night to see what it was like and that there were no problems like we had at the first place.

Renting in an area you like for even a few weeks will give you a great insight to what its really like there before you commit to buying a place that may not be what you think it is.

So renting was not a waste of money for us at that time , more of an investment to be sure we were buying in the right place the first time round.

It can be more expensive  buying here in regard to expenses so getting it right the first time is pretty important.

Many British people that move to Spain have consolidated their assets in the UK and have the money to buy a place here with little or no mortgage.

When I bought my first property here I didn’t want a mortgage and liked the fact that I could start here without the monthly payments as I was intending to pay for the apartment in full.

At that time I was friendly with my Spanish bank manager as he just happened to live in the same building that I was renting at the time.

when I told him I had found a place I wanted to buy he advised me to not pay in full and have a small mortgage . I told him I didn’t need one

but he said that if I were to have just a small mortgage with the bank then the bank would need to do more checks on the property as they needed to protect their investment.

I went with his advice and had a very small mortgauge that I paid off after 3 years without any penalties.

Buying a property in Spain has changed a bit now and you normally need to place an official deposit with the agent to secure that property once you say you will have it.

 On Most of my purchases I have paid around 2500 euros deposit.

Something to remember here,

If you the buyer pulls out once you have paid that deposit then you will loose that deposit but if the seller pulls out then they need to return to you double your deposit.

So if you really like and want the property and want to make it harder for the seller to pull out then place a larger deposit.

On one property I really wanted here I paid 5000 euros deposit as this then made it more difficult for the seller to back out, he would need to give me 10,000 euros back. That sale went through without any problems. And pretty fast.

Often the agents will push you into paying a deposit to secure the property but there is one thing I strongly suggest you do first.

Once you are at the stage where you have found your perfect place and just before you pay a deposit. Go to the planning registry officer at your local town hall.

Ask at your town hall and they will tell you where that is as its not always in the town hall buildings.

I do suggest that you Take someone with you if your Spanish is basic.I have not had a registry office worker speek any English yet.

Take the plot number or building number with you.

All properties and land have a plot or building registry number that you get from the deeds or the agent selling that property.

They will give you this number if you ask them or you may be able to get it from the registry officer if you have the correct address.

Once at the registry office ask to see what the property has registered on it.

Now the registry officer will tell you all about that property like how many meters it is, what permissions and works its had done and if anything is illegal with that property all for free before you buy it.

You can also see the true boundaries of that property .

Now most solicitors will do some checks but they don’t always do this and by going there yourself you get to ask questions and see with your own eyes just what the property is about.

More than a few times here I have pulled out of a sale before paying any deposits as what I was told by the owners and agent didn’t match with what was actually registered and would have been possible problems down the road.

On one property I had planned to buy that was in the country there was no mains electric connected but both the agent and owners assured us it would not be a problem connecting to the mains electric suppler.

After talking to the registry officer he told us that a new connecting that was some distance from the main road could be very expensive so I asked at the electric company and they quoted 15k for the connection from the street to that house as they would have to lay new cables. We pulled out of that one.

Its upsetting but just means its niot right for you and you need to keepo looking as the right place is always there if you just keep looking.

Just a 10 minute chat with these people can save you thousands and give you peace of mind. And remember its free.

Now for some Renting tips

There are many stories of people losing their deposits on rentals here when they move out .

Heres what happened to me and what you can do to protect your deposit.

My very first rent here was to a lovely older Spanish couple who we paid 400 euros up front and a months rent up front all to the agent .

Months later when we were ready to move out we told the agent to come and inspect the apartment that we had cleaned thoroughly  he did and agreed it was in perfect condition. We even left a new kettle and toaster that we didn’t want and where told to return to the agents office in 3 days to collect our 400 euros deposit and give the keys back.

we dropped in to collect our deposit and were told that the day before the owners had taken the deposit to pay for cleaners to clean the apartment as we had left it is such a mess and their bill just happened to be the exact amount of our deposit of 400 euros. 

That’s great money for a days cleaning even by todays standards.

We told him that he himself had seen it and this was not true. He told us we could take them to court.

 On legal advice I was informed that it would take many months and may cost me as much as I wanted to get back so I decided begrudgingly to chalk that up as  experience.

The landlords should pay your deposits to a regional Authority like the Junta de Andalucía, or hacienda to hold the deposit. just ask at council office they will tell you.

It’s the landlords responsibility to pay these deposits to this holding party so as you the renter can get them back when they leave. Falier to do so can lead to fines for the landlord’s.

Always get the agent and owner of the property to inspect it with you the day you leave and personally I would take pictures or video to prove its in good condition.

If you are renting longer periods than you may wish to do some improvement’s or decorating and if you pay for these improvement’s then the landlord should give you discounts on your rent as you are improving the property BUT you must always ask first if doing any works at all or decorating to a rented property.

So there you go.

I hope you have learned a few tips and avoid the mistakes I have made.

That’s it for another show.

You have been listening to THE WRIGHT WAY with me David Wright.

Up next its  the Sunday lunch show with Terry Stevens.

Adios.

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